Cavus foot can develop at any age in one or both feet. It is a condition in which the foot has an exceptionally high arch. Because of the height of the arch, an excessive amount of weight is placed on the ball and heel of the foot when standing or walking. It can result in a variety of symptoms like pain and instability. However, it is much less common to see a patient with high arches complain of foot pain than those with low arches. Because of this, patients with high arches, or cavus foot, are less commonly treated and often less understood than those with the highly common flatfoot.
Often, cavus foot is caused by a neurologic disorder or other medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, polio, muscular dystrophy, or stroke. It can also be the result of an inherited structural abnormality.
The underlying cause of the patient’s condition deeply impacts its future course. If it caused by a neurologic disorder or other medical condition, it will likely worsen progressively. Cases of cavus foot that do not result from neurologic disorders do not usually change in appearance.
An obvious symptom is that the arch of the foot appears high, even upon standing. Pain is often noted on the lateral column of the foot with instability of the lateral ankle and pain under the ball of the foot. Calluses may appear on the ball, side, or heel of the foot. Swelling in the lateral foot and ankle are sometimes noted.
The instability caused by the arch could result in ankle sprains, and in severe cases, lateral column stress fractures. Plantar fasciitis commonly occurs with high arched feet, as do hammertoes (bent toes) or claw toes (toes clenched like a fist).
Patients with cavus foot may also experience a weakness of the muscles in the foot and ankle that results in dragging the foot when taking a step- a symptom known as foot drop. This symptom is usually a sign of an underlying neurologic condition.
To diagnosis cavus foot we will likely review your family and medical history. We will examine your feet looking for a high arch and calluses, hammertoes, and claw toes. We will test the foot for muscle strength and observe your walking patterns and coordination. If you appear to have a neurologic condition, the entire limb might be examined. We may also look at the wear pattern of your shoes. At times, x-rays are ordered to further assess the condition of your foot and to give us a deeper understanding of your specific situation. In some cases, you may be referred to a neurologist for a complete neurologic evaluation.
*Your treatment plan and healing time will vary depending on the results of your examination.
Pain in the feet and ankles can be especially burdensome because it inhibits your ability to exercise, stand, and walk normally. If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain, schedule an appointment with one of our friendly foot doctors. The podiatrists at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle will thoroughly examine your feet and evaluate your symptoms to better understand your condition. We will work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs and puts an end to your pain.
Call (208) 855-5955 or request an appointment online.